Bierstadt on Wednesday?

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annqueue
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Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by annqueue » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:52 pm

Hi gang, newbie here, please go easy. I will take an avy class but haven't had a chance to yet. Been up Bierstadt before, in winter too, but this year is special. Would y'all go up the west slopes route on Wednesday? Am I asking for trouble either on the closed portion of road or the usual route? What's the avy risk and are there bypasses to avoid it? Please teach me and thanks for your patience.
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CaptCO
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by CaptCO » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:05 pm

I’d do it for sunrise training before work again, but according to most people on here you shouldn’t hike with me because of my online persona. PM if interested!
"It's a thing if you want it to be a thing. What others think of something is irrelevant." -OldSchool
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Wentzl
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by Wentzl » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:10 pm

oh captain my captain, you took it to a new low.
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7TU1Hh_3U
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by CaptCO » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:12 pm

Wentzl wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:10 pm
oh captain my captain, you took it to a new low.
Chris, confused how you try and keep your 14er friends close, while still emailing me for future trips? Pick one or the other mi amigo
"It's a thing if you want it to be a thing. What others think of something is irrelevant." -OldSchool
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Wentzl
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by Wentzl » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:17 pm

Catp Co. I was just suggesting that highlighting your negative persona, while at the same time extending an invitation, was darker than even your most perverse posts.

And I have no 14er friends except you.
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7TU1Hh_3U
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CaptCO
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by CaptCO » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:18 pm

Wentzl wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:17 pm
Catp Co. I was just suggesting that highlighting your negative persona, while at the same time extending an invitation, was darker than even your most perverse posts.

And I have no 14er friends except you.
Atleast we have something in common. Guess I’m one too many already!
"It's a thing if you want it to be a thing. What others think of something is irrelevant." -OldSchool
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Wentzl
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by Wentzl » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:22 pm

If annqueue is still there, I met Alec once, he showed up where and when he said, he had skills equal or better than what he claimed and we had a nice day. So I say, if you are a real person, go for it.
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7TU1Hh_3U
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daway8
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by daway8 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:19 pm

annqueue wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:52 pm
Hi gang, newbie here, please go easy. I will take an avy class but haven't had a chance to yet. Been up Bierstadt before, in winter too, but this year is special. Would y'all go up the west slopes route on Wednesday? Am I asking for trouble either on the closed portion of road or the usual route? What's the avy risk and are there bypasses to avoid it? Please teach me and thanks for your patience.
The main avy concern for Bierstadt is that first switchback past the winter parking area up from Georgetown. You can mostly avoid it by going straight through the trees when the road starts to switch back. Or keep your eyes open as you double back on the road - pretty obvious but small-ish slide zone - I think it typically runs fairly small but you never know.

CaptCO is actually a great guy in person - not quite sure what goes wrong once he logs in online - perhaps some sort of electrical short on his keyboard...?
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by polar » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:19 pm

I like Bierstadt as a training ground in the winter: it's close to Denver, avalanche risk is relatively low, so one can get a decent workout without driving too far. I haven't been up Bierstadt at all this winter though, so I don't know what the current condition is like. But generally speaking, Bierstadt west slope tends to wind-scoured with very little snow. The angle of west slope is also low enough to have low avalanche risk. There are only two areas of concern along the west slope route. The first is the steep area at the second switchback (if I remember correctly), the one that turns from westward to eastward. It's pretty easy to identify because I remember there's a "slide area" sign. I've seen wet slides in that area a couple of years ago. The second area of concern is the cliff band along the route, that's the only steep area on the west slope. It generally doesn't hold a lot of snow, but after a major snowstorm and if the wind condition is right, I can see some avalanche risk in that area.

I took an AIARE level one course a couple of years ago, and my takeaway is that when evaluating avalanche risks, you're really guessing at a probability. Unless you're standing on flat ground, the probability is never zero. And even if you're standing on flat ground, you may still be in avalanche runout zones. I think a couple of years ago there was one avalanche fatality where someone was on a fairly flat snowshoeing trail, but was buried by an avalanche from steeper terrain above them. So "safe" winter routes should only be considered safe in normal conditions. If the avalanche forecast is high (red) or extreme (black), I personally wouldn't even get on "safe" winter routes. But since the avalanche forecast is moderate (yellow) right now, and I don't see anything before Wed that could potentially change that for the worse, I'd say Bierstadt on Wed is a pretty low risk bet.
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by daway8 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:31 pm

Here it is in picture form using the slope angle overlay and 14er Routes overlay - small slide zone on the road is pointed out by the arrow. Other area of slight theoretical concern mentioned by Polar can be seen by the coloration along the route.

Bierstadt.jpg
Bierstadt.jpg (171.13 KiB) Viewed 398 times
annqueue
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by annqueue » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:51 pm

Cool, thanks all. I am a real person and I'm not doing this alone, but I ain't doing it with the captain either. That part by the slide area sign was the part giving me pause,so it's nice to know my instincts aren't totally off. Happy trails!
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Re: Bierstadt on Wednesday?

Post by geojed » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:49 pm

Just climbed Bierstadt today. You have nothing to worry about. Shortcuts are obvious. Trail is very packed. Bring micro spikes. Posted a couple pictures in a conditions report.

Here’s my recording. You can download a GPX from it if you want. https://strava.app.link/o01y2PuKYcb
• It's by getting away from life that we can see it most clearly... It's by depriving ourselves of the myriad of everyday experiences that we renew our appreciation for them...I've learned from my experiences in the mountains that I love life. — Dave Johnston
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